cover image Pink Slime

Pink Slime

Fernanda Trías, trans. from the Spanish by Heather Cleary. Scribner, $24 (240p) ISBN 978-1-6680-4977-8

A woman contends with her fraught relationships as a plague devastates her country in this vivid outing from Uruguayan author Trias (The Rooftop). A noxious red wind originating from toxic red algae has caused a lethal epidemic in the unnamed narrator’s coastal city, killing hundreds, decimating the food supply, and forcing people to eat an unappetizing “pink slime” produced by a new meat-processing plant. The 40-something narrator regularly visits her self-destructive ex-husband, Max, who survived exposure to the wind, and her hypercritical mother, Leonor. She also nannies a wealthy boy named Mauro, whose tantrums and insatiable hunger require constant supervision. When a powerful windstorm hits the country—bringing with it road closures, power outages, and soot from a mysterious fire that the government keeps quiet about—the narrator and her loved ones’ chances of survival rapidly dwindle. The novel captivates with its increasingly claustrophobic atmosphere, and Trías keenly explores the resentments that fester within a mother-daughter relationship, a failing marriage, and childcare work. Readers will be gripped. (July)